Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Next Computer by Wingman

On Tuesday, I picked up 3 New Linux magazines from Barnes & Noble. Oh, and a book (Hard Cover, no less) by Michael Crichton called NEXT. In technological terms, I guess we all want to 'know' what's going to happen "next". That's because my miss-spent youth was 'wasted' reading sf.

That pretty much makes Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein to blame for my forward looking mentality. If we tinker with computers in any 'serious' way, it's because in our minds are looking toward our
Next Machine. And Linux is our best foil for this constant "thrust" and "parry" into our "Time Machine".
I had pretty much forgotten there was a computer called the "NeXT cube". That's a picture of it from the Wikipedia article about it.
The article Lead reads like this:

The NeXT Computer and NeXTcube were high-end workstation computers developed, manufactured and sold by NeXT from 1988 until 1993. They ran the NeXTSTEP operating system. The NeXT Computer (often informally referred to as "the Cube") was released as a 1-foot (305 mm) die-cast magnesium cube. It cost US $6500. The NeXT Computer has achieved a small degree of notability for being used by Tim Berners-Lee as the world's first web server, and also to write the first web browser, WorldWideWeb at CERN.
I never had one of those machines that ran the "NeXTSTEP" operating system. Again from Wikipedia (What a Resource!):
NEXTSTEP was the original object-oriented, multitasking operating system that NeXT Computer developed to run on its proprietary NeXT computers ("black boxes") such as the NeXTcube. NEXTSTEP 1.0 was released on September 18, 1989 after several previews starting in 1986. The last version, 3.3, was released in early 1995, by which time it ran not only on Motorola 68000 family processors, but also IBM PC compatible x86, Sun SPARC, and HP PA-RISC. Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X is a direct descendant of NEXTSTEP.

A free software implementation of the OpenStep standard, GNUstep, also exists.
The NeXTSTEP OS desktop (see picture-it's kinda clunky these days) can still be seen as a desktop environment in versions of Knoppix Linux, and was based on Unix and BSD. Well, that was a fun piece of history, time to hit the books (and magazines). Wingman.

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